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Space

Milky Way Is Twice the Size We Thought 301

Posted by kdawson
from the everything-you-know-is-wrong dept.
Peter writes to tell us about a research group at the University of Sydney in Australia, who in the middle of some calculation wanted to check the numbers everybody uses for the thickness of our galaxy at the core. Using data available freely on the Internet and analyzing it in a spreadsheet, they discovered in a matter of hours that the Milky Way is 12,000 light years thick, vs. the 6,000 that had been the consensus number for some time.
Science

TR Picks 10 Emerging Technologies of 08 76

Posted by kdawson
from the what-will-be dept.
arktemplar suggests Technology Review for their annual list of 10 emerging technologies that the editors believe will be particularly important over the next few years. Quoting: "This is work ready to emerge from the lab, in a broad range of areas: energy, computer hardware and software, biological imaging, social interactions. Two of the technologies — cellulolytic enzymes and atomic magnetometers — are efforts by leading scientists to solve critical problems, while five — surprise modeling, connectomics, probabilistic CMOS, reality mining, and offline Web applications — represent whole new ways of looking at problems. And three — graphene transistors, nanoradio, and wireless power — are amazing feats of engineering that have created something entirely new."
Space

Scientists Find Solar System Like Ours 173

Posted by Zonk
from the hello-up-there dept.
mlimber writes "The NYTimes has up a story about the discovery of a solar system that is analogous to ours. Of the 250 or so exoplanets found thus far, 'few of them are in systems that even faintly resemble our own. In many cases, giant Jupiter-like planets are whizzing around inside the orbit of Mercury,' whereas in this new system, 'a planet about two-thirds of the mass of Jupiter and another about 90 percent of the mass of Saturn are orbiting a reddish star about half the mass of the Sun, at about half the distances that Jupiter and Saturn circle our own Sun.' The researchers used gravitational microlensing to detect the planets, and two of the lead authors of the paper to be published in Science are amateur astronomers, one of whom describes herself as 'an ordinary New Zealand mother.'"
United States

Airlines Have to Ask Permission to Fly 72 Hours Early 596

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the papers-papers-please dept.
twitter wrote to mention that the TSA (Transport Security Administration) has released a new set of proposed rules that is raising quite a stir among groups ranging from the ACLU to the American Society of Travel Agents. Under the new rules airlines would be required to submit a passenger manifest (including full name, sex, date of birth, and redress number) for all flights departing, arriving, or flying over the United States at least 72 hours prior to departure. Boarding passes will only be issued to those passengers that have been cleared. "Hasbrouck submitted that requiring clearance in order to travel violates the US First Amendment right of assembly, the central claim in John Gilmore's case against the US government over the requirement to show photo ID for domestic travel. [...] ACLU's Barry Steinhardt quoted press reports of 500,000 to 750,000 people on the watch list (of which the no-fly list is a subset). 'If there are that many terrorists in the US, we'd all be dead.' TSA representative Kip Hawley noted that the list has been carefully investigated and halved over the last year. 'Half of grossly bloated is still bloated,' Steinhardt replied."
Media

+ - Hurricane Chasers Sample 80-90mph Winds

Submitted by
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward writes "A group of Hurricane Chasers testing their limits, standing in hurricane force winds in this video article . A good perspective of how standing in strong category 1 hurricane winds can be like. "Standing in direct hurricane winds is very dangerous, and there are many things I and anyone that I'm chasing with look out for before attempting to do this. We always first try and find a location were there is no possible debris up wind that can fly in our direction, also looking out for any power lines, tree's, and rocks, because you don't want anything coming at you at 80mph." http://www.stormvideographer.com/blog/2007/03/08/h urricane-chasing-why-stand-in-the-winds/"
Space

+ - New Mexico secedes, might declare Pluto Planet

Submitted by
pease1
pease1 writes "Wired and others are reporting for New Mexico, the fight for Pluto is not over. Seven months after a conclave of scientists downgraded the distant heavenly body to a "dwarf planet," a state representative in New Mexico aims to give the snubbed world back some of its respect. State lawmakers will vote Tuesday on a bill that proposes "as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet." Actual wording of the resolution.

For many of us old timers and those who had the honor of meeting Clyde, this just causes a belly of laughs and is pure fun. Not to mention a bit of poking sticking in the eye."
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Stallman's Hypocrisy

Submitted by TheAmigo
TheAmigo (10935) writes "If Richard Stallman is such a friend of freedom why was he recently in Cuba attending a conference hosted by Ramiro Valdez, Cuba's "spanking new minister of information and technology", as reported by Newsmax. From The Article: "Everyone familiar with Cuban history (this naturally excludes all the MSM Cuba experts) know Ramiro Valdez as the Cuban regime's Lavrenti Beria, with a dash of Heinrich Himmler. This was a position he inherited when his chum Ernesto "Che" Guevara was promoted from Cuba's chief executioner to minister of the economy, where he murdered the Cuban economy as efficiently as he had murdered hundreds of defenseless Cuban men (and boys.)"
My favorite part of the article: "Here's a fanatic for free information flow accepting accolades from a regime that jails the most journalist per capita on planet earth.""
Power

Journal: Freetricity? Small-scale wind & solar generator 1

Journal by zmef420

OK, so a while back now I was working on a business plan and stumbled across the website of a startup company offering a very intriguing product, a small wind and solar generator system. The product is about the size of a digital satellite dish and the basic unit is claimed to produce 300 watts and includes a 700 watt inverter. Being the impulse buyer that I am, I quickly purchased some of these units but sadly they still haven't arrived. I'm starting to worry that I've been duped. My questio

Privacy

Subliminal Messages Might Actually Work 172

Posted by kdawson
from the buy-popcorn-now dept.
GrumpySimon writes "New research indicates that subliminal messages may actually work. In a paper titled Attentional Load Modulates Responses of Human Primary Visual Cortex to Invisible Stimuli, Bahrani et al. demonstrate that even though stimuli may not be available to consciousness, they are processed by the visual cortex. While I'm sure that marketing agencies all over the world are rubbing their hands in glee at this news, the authors report that there's no evidence that this can make people buy things against their will. So with any luck the use of subliminal messages in advertising will remain an urban legend."

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.

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